1965 Dodge Coronet
Competition # 105
With the rumors and news of the new, big-horsepower 427 SOHC engine being developed across town at Ford, to dethrone the Hemi, the RAMCHARGERS knew they needed to do something. Development of the A-925 (DOHC Hemi) was in full swing. This engine was going to be a lot more than an equalizer. It was a beast! The boys even nicknamed it "The Doomsday Machine"! With the possibilities and capabilities of this powerplant, spirits around the RAMCHARGERS and the rest of the Chrysler engine development group were very high. But fate would have a different plan. Apparently, the bean-counters at Chrysler were not quite as excited. The suites cared about profit from car sales. And had no concern for racing. Especially Drag racing. That "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" philosophy must not have made it upstairs yet. With that mentality, Chrysler's lead corner-cutter, Ronnie Householder set out on a treasonous "sabotage mission". Chrysler was willing to thro money into its NASCAR program. But they were a little more apprehensive when it came to other forms of racing. Drag Racing was like an unwanted stepchild. If not for the RAMCHARGERS, there may have never been any innovation in that field. Householder's idea was that if he could get NASCAR to ban the A-925, he could save the company a lot of money in development. So, he simply went to NASCAR and told them that Ford was building a SOHC engine for competition. And if it were allowed to race, Chrysler would counter with their new DOHC Hemi that's currently in development. The news of these new radical engines stunned the executive at NASCAR and the immediatly moved to ban all overhead cam engines from competition. With that ban, Householder was very quick to spread the news around the Chrysler Headquarters, thus instantly pulling the plug on any further development of the Doomsday Machine.
The ban of the A-925 from NASCAR essentially killed it off completely. But that was not the same situation at Ford. After 3 or 4 years of getting their teeth kicked in by all of the Max Wedge and Hemi powered Dodges and Plymouths on every dragstrip across the country, Henry Ford II opened up the wallet and insisted on doing whatever it takes to win in Drag Racing. So, the SOHC 427, nicknamed "The Cammer" steered straight ahead for action in 1965.
Now, with Chrysler being "out-powered" for the first time since 1962, the RAMCHARGERS knew they needed to do something. The Fords had more power. They were also putting that engine into cars 2 carline sizes smaller than anything it was available to the public for purchase. And 2 carline sizes smaller than what Chrysler would send to the starting line. It was Chryslers philosophy to race what they sold. Whereas Ford's thought process was "Just Win". So, the Mercury Comets and the new little Ford Mustangs were stuffed with this behemoth engine. They had a much lighter car with the driver and engine both further back on the chassis. They could meet the NHRA class minimum weight by adding over 200 lbs. of ballast to the back of the car where it would be an almost unbeatable answer to the traction problems of the day. And with the Doomsday Machine put to bed, the RAMCHARGERS stepped up to battle from a different angle. If ya can't outpower them, just build a better car!
Taking notes from the previous year's success with moving the wheels forward a bit, the RAMCHARGERS figured to push the envelope as far as it would go. With a new 1965 Dodge Coronet in their possession for development, they moved the front wheels and suspension forward 10 inches and the rears were moved 15 inches forward. This put more than 50% of the vehicle weight over the rear wheels. Upon completion, NHRA officials were invited to the showroom at the Woodward Garage to see, and hopefully give their blessing, to the new creation. No such luck. They were actually appalled by the Dodge. There was absolutely no way they'd let that car run in Super Stock.
But the mission was moving forward already. Additionally, the team had done quite a bit of learning how to reduce weight by acid-dipping body panels. So why not the whole car? Eleven cars were to be built in this manner and only sold to a hand-selected group of race teams. The elite of Mopar racers. Research showed that the only place with a container big enough for a whole body was in southern California. So, eleven 1965 Dodge and Plymouth B-Bodies were pulled from the Los Angeles plant. After the acid-dipping procedure, the cars came back approximately 200 lbs. lighter! Of the group, 9 of them were put on a train car and shipped to Detroit, where they were then delivered to Amblewagon Ambulance Company in Troy, Michigan, for the body modifications to be done just like the development car.
Two cars were left untouched after they rose from the acid container. One of them, is this car here. The RAMCHARGERS already knew that NHRA would not allow them to run altered cars in Super Stock. So, they took their lightened body, A990 Hemi Dodge, dressed it in Super Stock Trim and shipped it back out west for the first two races of the 1965 season. The first was the AHRA WinterNationls at Bee Line Dragway in Phoenix, Arizona. Upon arrival, the RAMCHARGERS new car had a slightly different look than the previous two years. The long candy red stripe that traced the bodyline down the sides from front to back was not there. Roof stripes, C-Pillar stripes and lettering were all present. But no side stripes. A quick lesson in Chemistry taught the boys that the acid from the dipping was still in the steel along that part of the body. And it kept eating through the paint! So, for the first event of the year, the new 65 Coronet ran without them. By the time they got to Pomona, California for the NHRA WinterNationals, a week later, the team had gotten the paint to stick.
After leaving the West Coast, the RAMCHARGERS and thier 65 Dodge headed home to Michigan. The car was quickly sent to Amblewagon for its modifications. A new stencil had to be created for the lettering on the sides, due to the new wheel locations. Now being dedicated to the AF/X class for Factory Experimental, Hilborn Fuel Injection, more cubic inches (472) and some Nitromethane were worked into the engine bay, thus creating one of the most iconic, successful and ground-breaking cars ever to come from the RAMCHARGERS stable. THIS was the beginning of the "Funny Car'!
After a dominating 1965 season with an incredible car, 1966 was on the horizon. The competition was getting stiff. Ford was continuing to throw the bank at their racing effort. And the Funny Car was evolving. Once again, it was back to the drawing board for the next season. As such, the 1965 Altered Wheel Base Hemi Coronet was sold and rode off into the sunset.
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CURRENT STATUS: Crashed / Destroyed:
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